Reddick survives three overtime attempts for wild Cup victory at COTA

In a highly anticipated event featuring a star-studded lineup of competitors and new names across the grid, Tyler Reddick captured the main spotlight by winning the third annual running of the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas on Sunday, March 26, amid three overtime attempts and a dominant run since the start of the weekend.

The two-time Xfinity Series champion from Corning, California, led a race-high 41 of 75 over-scheduled laps in an event where he utilized pit strategy and a fast race car to keep himself in contention towards the front. Swapping the lead with William Byron on several occasions before overtaking him with four laps remaining, Reddick then had to navigate his way around Austin’s 20-turn circuit through three overtime attempts and a series of carnages erupting behind him to muscle away from Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, Ross Chastain and Byron to claim the first checkered flag for himself, 23XI Racing and Toyota of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Saturday, William Byron notched his first Cup pole of the 2023 season after posting a pole-winning lap at 93.882 mph in 130.760 seconds. Joining him on the front row was Tyler Reddick, who clocked in the second-fastest qualifying lap at 93.783 mph in 130.898 seconds.

Prior to the event, Michael McDowell dropped to the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments made to his No. 34 Front Row Motorsports entry.

When the green flag waved and the race commenced, Byron jumped ahead with the lead as the field fanned out through the uphill climb to the first turn. With the field navigating its way into the first turn, Byron retained the lead through a series of right and left-hand turns from Turns 2 to 10 before approaching a steep left-hand turn in Turn 11. As the field approached the long straightaway between Turns 11 and 12, Tyler Reddick and Austin Cindric battled for second with Daniel Suarez closing in after he overtook Jordan Taylor, a three-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar champion who was filling in the No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the injured Chase Elliott. Following the final series of turns from Turns 12 to 20, the field returned to the frontstretch as Byron led the first lap ahead of Reddick, Cindric, Suarez and Alex Bowman while Jordan Taylor fell back to ninth.

Just then, the first caution of the event flew on the second lap when Brad Keselowski, who was running within the middle of the field, spun in between Turns 19 and 20. As a bevy of cars approaching Keselowski scattered to avoid him, Ty Dillon got pinched in between Todd Gilliland and Chris Buescher, which resulted in Buescher hitting Dillon as he veered sideways and slammed into the No. 84 Club Wyndham Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 piloted by seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson as Johnson spun with right-side damage while Dillon emerged with significant front nose damage to his No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The early incident was enough to knock both Dillon and Johnson out of contention while Keselowski continued.

During the following restart on the fifth lap, the field fanned out again entering the first turn as Cindric, who restarted third, managed to motor his way past Byron and Reddick, both of whom went wide in Turn 1, to assume the lead entering the series of turns from Turns 2 to 10. As the field jostled for positions past the turns and entering the frontstretch between Turns 11 and 12, Cindric maintained the lead over Reddick and Byron with Suarez in fourth and AJ Allmendinger in fifth. By then, Taylor locked up the front tires entering Turn 11 while battling within the top 10 and nearly clipped Erik Jones, which caused him to drop back to 13th.

A lap later, Chase Briscoe, who was running 17th, got hit by Justin Haley and spun in Turn 1, but the field remained under green flag conditions as Briscoe lost a bevy of spots on the track. By then, Joey Logano was assessed a pass-through penalty for shortcutting through the esses while running in 16th, all while Cindric retained the lead in front of Reddick and Byron. By the seventh lap, however, Reddick managed to cycle his No. 45 Monster Energy Toyota TRD Camry around Cindric’s No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang entering Turn 19 to assume the lead on the eighth lap.

Through the first 10 scheduled laps, Reddick was leading by seven-tenths of a second over Byron while third-place Cindric trailed by more than a second. Allmendinger and Suarez were running fourth and fifth while Bowman, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson and Ross Chastain were scored in the top 10. Behind, Bubba Wallace was in 11th ahead of Christopher Bell, Jordan Taylor and rookies Ty Gibbs and Noah Gragson while Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Preece, Tod Gilliland, Harrison Burton and Martin Truex Jr. occupied the top 20. By then, Kevin Harvick was in 22nd ahead of Ryan Blaney and Austin Dillon, former Formula One champion Kimi Räikkönen was in 25th, Keselowski was back in 27th, former Formula One champion Jenson Button was mired back in 31st in between Aric Almirola and Chase Briscoe and IndyCar competitor Conor Daly was in 34th. Meanwhile, Denny Hamlin, Corey LaJoie and Michael McDowell were assessed penalties for cutting the course.

Then during the following lap, trouble erupted when Bubba Wallace locked up the front tires and slammed into Larson with Erik Jones also sustaining damage in Turn 12. While limping his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 back to pit road, Larson endured more on-track issues when he got hit by Denny Hamlin and spun backward toward the pit wall in between Turns 19 and 20 at the same time when Wallace was pitting his wounded No. 23 MoneyLion Toyota TRD Camry as the caution returned. Despite the pair of incidents, Larson managed to continue while Wallace retired with a damaged oil line. By then, Cody Ware also endured on-track issues when he spun within the infield turns. In addition, names like Stenhouse, Harvick, Buescher, Keselowski, Almirola, Briscoe, Logano and LaJoie pitted.

The following restart on Lap 15 also marked the conclusion of the first stage as Byron managed to edge Cindric to capture his fourth stage victory of the 2023 Cup season followed by Allmendinger, Bowman, Chastain, Suarez, Kyle Busch, Taylor, Bell and Ryan Preece. Compared to the first five events on the schedule, the caution flag did not display and the competitors proceeded under green as part of NASCAR’s new rules for this season, which highlighted that no caution periods would be mandated at the conclusion of stage breaks on road course venues that hold Cup Series events.

With the second stage proceeding under green on Lap 15, the field fanned out and scrambled for positions through the first turn and the series of left and right-hand turns from Turns 2 to 10 with Byron retaining the lead over Cindric, Allmendinger, Bowman and Chastain.

At the Lap 20 mark, Byron was leading by six-tenths of a second over Cindric followed by Allmendinger, Suarez and Chastain while Bowman, Ty Gibbs, Bell, Taylor and Reddick were in the top 10. By then, 34 of 39 starters were scored on the lead lap. Meanwhile, Blaney, who spun in Turn 15 a few laps earlier after getting hit by Larson, and Keselowski, who received an earlier tap from Blaney before spinning in Turn 12, plummeted down to 27th and 35th, respectively.

Shortly after, green flag pit stops slowly commenced as Kyle Busch pitted his No. 8 Netspend Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 followed by Jenson Button, Almirola, Preece, Gilliland and Gibbs. Taylor would also pit a few laps later followed by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Truex and Bell. By Lap 23, Cindric pitted despite enduring issues with changing the right-rear tire along with Bowman and Chastain while Byron retained the lead ahead of Allmendinger.

Once Byron surrendered the lead to pit his No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 under green prior to Lap 24, Reddick, who pitted prior to the conclusion of the first stage, cycled back into the lead. Behind, Allmendinger and Suarez also pitted while Austin Dillon, McDowell, Harvick and Larson emerged in the top five. By then, every competitor still running on the field made at least one pit stop with all on mixed pit strategies.

By Lap 25, Reddick was leading by more than three seconds over Austin Dillon followed by McDowell, Harvick and Larson while Stenhouse, Buescher, Erik Jones, Briscoe and Logano were scored in the top 10. By then, Hamlin was in 11th ahead of Gragson, Kimi Räikkönen, Keselowski and Byron while Allmendinger, Kyle Busch, Suarez, Gibbs and Chastain were in the top 20. By then, Bowman was in 21st, Bell was back in 26th ahead of teammate Truex and Taylor had fallen back in 29th ahead of Cindric and Jenson Button. Meanwhile, Blaney was mired a lap down in 34th following his earlier on-track incident and spin.

When the second stage concluded under green on Lap 30, Reddick captured his first stage victory of the 2023 Cup season while former teammate Austin Dillon trailed by more than seven seconds. McDowell, Harvick, Buescher, Stenhouse, Larson, Erik Jones, Briscoe and Gragson were scored in the top 10 while 33 of 39 starters were scored on the lead lap.

With the final stage proceeding under green with 38 laps remaining, Hamlin and Keselowski pitted under green shortly after while Gibbs was penalized for cutting the course. Briscoe, Gragson, Larson and McDowell would eventually pit, with Larson being penalized for speeding on pit road. Then approaching Lap 32, Reddick surrendered the lead to pit along with Stenhouse while Buescher assumed the lead. Following Reddick’s pit stop, Byron managed to overtake Reddick on the track as he settled in third behind Buescher and Erik Jones while Reddick was back in 10th.

A lap later, Byron reassumed the lead once Buescher pitted along with Erik Jones. This enabled Allmendinger to move into second followed by Suarez, Chastain and Kyle Busch while Reddick moved up to sixth. Another lap later, the event reached its halfway mark. By then, Gibbs was assessed another pass-through penalty for cutting the course while Reddick set the fastest lap of the event while running towards the top five.

With 30 laps remaining, Byron was leading by a tenth of a second over a hard-charging Reddick followed by Allmendinger, Suarez and Chastain while Bowman, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Cindric and McDowell were mired in the top 10. A lap later, Reddick made his move beneath Byron in Turn 1 and moved back into the lead. Meanwhile, Logano pitted his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang under green while Bell, who spun in Turn 8, was in 14th.

Three laps later, the caution flew due to debris reported in Turn 9. This occurred after Hamlin, who was running 17th, spun his No. 11 Interstate Batteries Toyota TRD Camry a turn prior and kicked up dirt on the course. During the caution period, nearly the entire lead lap field led by Reddick pitted for service that included fresh tires and enough fuel for the finish while Logano, who pitted a few laps prior to the caution, remained on the track along with Harrison Burton and Cody Ware. Following the pit stops, Reddick was the first competitor to exit pit road followed by Byron, Suarez, Chastain, Austin Dillon and McDowell. During the pit stops, Gibbs was penalized for pitting outside his pit box.

With 25 laps remaining, the race restarted under green as Logano and Harrison Burton occupied the front row. At the start, the field fanned out entering the first turn as Reddick launched his move beneath Logano for the lead. Despite grabbing it approaching the turn, Reddick wiggled and went wide, which allowed Byron to overtake him for the lead as Reddick was left to battle Chastain for second. Through the series of left and right-hand turns from Turns 2 to 10 and with the field still fanning out and jostling for late positions, Byron maintained the lead while Reddick was trying to navigate his way back into second. As the field continued to navigate through the next round of turns entering Turn 12, Suarez overshot the turn and lost a spot to fifth place on the track while Byron retained the lead ahead of Reddick, Chastain and Bowman.

Two laps later, a side-by-side battle for the lead ignited between Reddick and Byron through the straightaway turn between Turns 11 and 12. Following a side-by-side, crossover and swapping duel fight between the top-two leaders through Turns 12 to Turn 20, Byron managed to retain the lead by a narrow hair over Reddick. During the following lap, Byron and Reddick continued to fight for the lead as Chastain started to close in on the two leaders. Through the infield turns, however, Reddick managed to pull ahead and remain ahead of Byron to retake the lead as Chastain started to challenge Byron for second. Meanwhile, fourth-place Bowman trailed by more than a second as he started to join the battle.

Down to the final 20 laps of the event, Reddick was leading by two-tenths of a second over Byron while third-place Chastain trailed by nine-tenths of a second. Behind, Bowman was in fourth place while Austin Dillon occupied fifth place. With Suarez, Bell, Harvick, Logano and McDowell running in the top 10, Allmendinger, who endured a slow pit stop during the last caution period, was mired in 11th while Jordan Taylor navigated his way into 19th place, six spots over Räikkönen and eight over Jenson Button. Meanwhile, Larson limped back to pit road with a broken toe link to his No. 5 entry while Preece, who was assessed a pass-through penalty for short-cutting the esses, was assessed another pass-through penalty for speeding on pit road while serving his first penalty.

Five laps later, the Reddick and Byron, both of whom were instructed to save fuel, were separated by half a second, with Reddick leading while third-place Chastain trailed by more than a second. In the midst of the battles upfront, both Keselowski and Stenhouse spun through Turn 11, but the event proceeded under green. A few laps later, Hamlin and Kyle Busch pitted under green for enough fuel for the finish.

Then with 12 laps remaining, Byron slipped and went off the course in Turn 8, which allowed Trackhouse Racing’s Chastain and Suarez to move up to second and third. Not long after, Suarez bumped and moved teammate Chastain out of his way in Turn 11 to claim second place while Reddick retained the lead by more than a second. Just then, the caution returned when Keselowski came to a stop in Turn 7. During the caution period, a majority of the field led by Reddick pitted while names like Bell, Kyle Busch, Hamlin, Räikkönen and Preece remained on the track. Following the pit stops, Reddick was the first competitor to exit first followed by Byron, Suarez, Bowman, Austin Dillon and McDowell while Chastain lost a bevy of spots amid a slow pit service.

During the following restart with nine laps remaining, where Bell and Kyle Busch occupied the front row, Bell jumped ahead with a slight advantage as the field fanned out entering the first turn. Then as Reddick challenged Bell for the lead on fresh tires, carnage ensued behind as Allmendinger clipped and sent Austin Dillon around. At the same time, Chastain, who went wide to avoid Dillon, made contact with Erik Jones as he spun. With Chastain unable to pull away in Turn 1, the caution returned to being displayed. By then, Reddick reassumed the lead ahead of Bell while Byron was up in third followed by Kyle Bush and Truex.

As the field restarted under green with seven laps remaining, Reddick jumped ahead with the lead. Through Turn 1, however, Reddick overdrove the first turn, which allowed Byron to draw back even and clear him for the lead entering the series of turns. Then through Turn 9, Bell got turned as he spun while running towards the front, but the event remained under green. With the field scrambling entering Turns 11 and 12, Byron was out in front ahead of Reddick and Kyle Busch while Truex and Suarez rounded out the top five.

Down to the final five laps of the event, Byron maintained the lead by half a second over Reddick while third-place Kyle Busch trailed by more than two seconds. With Suarez and Bowman in the top five, Truex was in sixth while McDowell, Preece, Logano and Gragson were in the top 10. By then, 31 of 39 starters were scored on the lead lap.

Then entering Turn 11, Reddick, who kept Byron pressured for the lead, pounced on an opportunity to seize it back, which he did as he also fended off Byron through the straightaway from Turns 11 and 12 before maintaining the advantage through a series of turns from Turns 12 to 20. A lap later, the caution returned and the event was sent into overtime due to debris reported on the course as a result of Austin Dillon, who was penalized for cutting the esses earlier, shredding a left-rear tire on his No. 3 Get Bioethanol Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

With the event restarting in overtime, Reddick dueled against Byron amid the field fanning out before being locked into another side-by-side battle with Kyle Busch after he nearly overshot the turn. Behind, however, more on-track issues ensued in Turn 1 when Blaney got turned and spun. In front of him, Preece also got turned after making contact with Gibbs, which he also clipped Gragson. With the carnage ensuing behind, the event remained under green as Reddick maintained the lead over Kyle Busch and Byron. Then as Reddick was trying to motor his car back to the start/finish line to start the final lap, the caution returned and the event was sent into a second overtime attempt due to debris coming off of Blaney’s No. 12 Menards Ford Mustang while fluid was also leaking out of Preece’s damaged No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang.

At the start of the second overtime attempt, Bowman, who restarted within the top 10 and fanned out in his move to the front, made contact with Suarez and the contact carried forth into Truex getting hit and spun in Turn 1 while Suarez plummeted below the field after stopping in front of Truex’s car. As Reddick remained ahead of Kyle Busch, Bowman and Byron with the lead, Justin Haley spun in Turn 11 while running in the middle of the pack, but the event remained under green. Then through the infield carousel turns, McDowell, Räikkönen and Bell also spun, but the event remained under green again. The caution, however, flew and the event was sent into a third overtime attempt due to debris on the course after Suarez shredded the left-front tire of his No. 99 Freeway Insurance Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. By then, Reddick was scored the leader ahead of Kyle Busch, Bowman and Byron while Chastain maneuvered his way back to fifth.

When the event proceeded under green for the third overtime attempt, Reddick managed to fend off Bowman through the first turn to maintain the lead as the field bumped and jostled through the first turn. With Almirola falling off the pace, Reddick continued to navigate at the front through the series of turns from Turns 2 to 10. With more names like Logano, Bell and Suarez wrecking through the turns, Reddick retained the lead in front of Bowman, who had Kyle Busch pressuring him for second while Chastain was in fourth ahead of Byron.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Reddick, who was able to navigate his way back to the frontstretch without another caution to stall his progress, remained as the leader by a second over Bowman, who was drawn even and overtaken by Kyle Busch for second. Having a clear view in front of him for a final time through the 20-turn circuit while his challengers battled behind, Reddick was able to smoothly navigate his way back to the frontstretch and claim his first checkered flag of the 2023 campaign by more than a second over Busch.

With the victory, Reddick became the third different winner at Circuit of the Americas in the venue’s three-year history of hosting NASCAR Cup Series events. By becoming the fifth different winner of the 2023 season, he also notched his third victory on a road course venue and his fourth career win in NASCAR’s premier series. The victory was also the first of the season and fourth overall for 23XI Racing while the Toyota nameplate notched its first Cup victory of 2023.

“[The victory] means the world,” Reddick said on FOX. “This whole 23XI team has been working hard all winter long to make the road course program better and was extremely motivated to come in here and improve that performance. Just so proud of this Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD. This whole team, Toyota, everybody. All the resources, everything they’ve been putting into this to help turn around the road course program means a lot. I’m out of gas, but I feel a little bit better with Monster Energy.”

Meanwhile, Kyle Busch navigated his way around Alex Bowman for second place for his second top-two finish of the season. Bowman settled in third place for his second consecutive top-three finish at Circuit of the Americas while Chastain and Byron finished in the top five.

“I don’t know if we could have [beaten Reddick],” Busch said. “Even if we were on equal tires, when we tested here, [Reddick’s team] were lights out and had us beat on the front side of the runs. We needed longer runs, but even today, for some reason, we just didn’t have the really great long-run speed. We had good middle run speed, but overall, for as much as effort and everything that we’ve put into coming here and focusing on this place and all the testing and everything that we’ve been able to do over the off-season, we come out of here with a really good finish.”

“[Today] was really fun,” Byron said. “[Reddick’s team] were great all weekend. Tyler’s been great at the road courses. We made it a battle, for sure. Every time, crossovers, out-braking each other. That was a lot of fun. I hate that it kind of got down to restarts at the end. I got shoved off one time in second. We needed a top five and probably could’ve done some things different, but overall, a good day for the Liberty University Chevrolet. Good speed. Just, Tyler was so fast all weekend. I felt like, when I got the lead, I was just slipping and sliding, so it was fun.”

With 30 of 39 starters finishing on the lead lap, Cindric, Stenhouse, Buescher, Gibbs and Todd Gilliland completed the top 10 on the track.

Notably, Harvick finished 13th in his third and final start at Circuit of the Americas, Larson rallied for 14th, Hamlin fell back to 16th in front of teammate Truex, Blaney ended up 21st and Suarez settled in 27th in front of Logano. In addition, Jenson Button emerged as the highest-finishing open-wheel star in 18th while IMSA’s Jordan Taylor finished 24th and Formula One’s Kimi Räikkönen ended up 29th.

There were 16 lead changes for seven different leaders. The race featured eight cautions for 17 laps.

Following the sixth event of the 2023 Cup Series season, Ross Chastain leads the regular-season standings by 19 over Kyle Busch, 25 over both Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick, 27 over Christopher Bell and 34 over Ryan Blaney.

Results.

1. Tyler Reddick, 41 laps led, Stage 2 winner

2. Kyle Busch

3. Alex Bowman

4. Ross Chastain

5. William Byron, 28 laps led, Stage 1 winner

6. Austin Cindric, two laps led

7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

8. Chris Buescher, one lap led

9. Ty Gibbs

10. Todd Gilliland

11. Corey LaJoie

12. Michael McDowell

13. Kevin Harvick

14. Kyle Larson

15. Chase Briscoe

16. Denny Hamlin

17. Martin Truex Jr.

18. Jenson Button

19. Justin Haley

20. Noah Gragson

21. Ryan Blaney

22. Harrison Burton

23. Erik Jones

24. Jordan Taylor

25. Cody Ware

26. Josh Bilicki

27. Daniel Suarez, one lap led

28. Joey Logano, one lap led

29. Kimi Räikkönen

30. Aric Almirola, one lap down

31. Christopher Bell – OUT, Accident, one lap led

32. Ryan Preece – OUT, Accident

33. Austin Dillon – OUT, Accident

34. AJ Allmendinger – OUT, Accident

35. Brad Keselowski – OUT, Driveshaft

36. Conor Daly – OUT, Transmission

37. Bubba Wallace – OUT, Accident

38. Jimmie Johnson – OUT, DVP

39. Ty Dillon – OUT, Accident

Next on the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the series’ first of two scheduled events of this season at Richmond Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. The event is scheduled to occur on Sunday, April 2, at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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